The Honeys breaks away from gender norms and conformity, offering readers an inventive story about the abuse and expectations of women.
Mars heads back to his stifling and archaic summer camp in The Honeys to solve the mystery behind his sisters’ descent into madness, unraveling the camp’s dark secrets behind it.
The story starts with Caroline, Mars’ twin sister, saying that she loves him right before she attempts to kill him. Fighting for his life, he clings to her, even as she launches them over the railing, crashing into a chandelier, leading to her death.
They said cancer in her brain caused her to act in such a way. But Mars has other ideas. Mars believes that the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy led to her death. Determined to figure it out, he makes his way back to the camp that once tried to burn him alive for being himself.
Mars is genderfluid, breaking away from the predetermined and socially imposed gender roles. He does his nails and wears sandals and crop tops. They are unapologetically themselves.
And I loved that.
Through Mars, the story is breaking apart those gender roles that put women in one position and men in other. Roles that pigeonhole people to unhappiness. There is a lot of thoughtfulness in the story as it begins with Mars remaking himself to be the macho male in the story to solve his sister’s murder. But, even she had a role to fill that was slowly killing her. The Honeys, the group of girls who tend to the bees, also have a role to fill that threatens to break them and kill them.
It is exciting to see Mars develop as a character and see La Sala break up from conformity and focus on building their personal identity.
Much like with the cover, The Honeys is quite trippy. La Sala captures the eerie atmosphere and unsettling sense that something is wrong with the Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy. The woods have a powerful dark secret lurking within them, controlled by the Honeys.
Admittedly, there were times when the story’s pacing moved too quickly, allowing the readers to get lost. In addition, the transitions from scene to scene were not always clear as the story approached its ending. Sometimes it is unclear who we are supposed to be following or what is happening in a particular scene, forcing the reader to re-read pages.
The speed at which the reader must read the story is slower than the plot’s lighting pace.
The Honeys is certainly a trippy novel. Bending the social norms, it criticizes and highlights the unfairness of conformity while developing an unsettling and thought-provoking story.
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